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A Discourse (With Shape of Reason Missing)

  • John Tagg
Chapter

Abstract

I begin with an image: an image of two crowds, in which I shall try to clear a space to make something visible; or perhaps I shall only be making visible that space itself, a space that is already there. The image is John Baldessari’s; a 4 ft by ####ft gelatin silver print made in 1984 (illustration 23) and first published on the cover of the Fall 1985 issue of Journal, in the context of a ‘Special Feature’ edited by Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe and John Johnston on ‘Multiplicity, Proliferation, Reconvention’.1 Johnston you may know as a translator of Baudrillard, Deleuze and Foucault. Gilbert-Rolfe is a painter and critical theorist who, at the time, was teaching at the California Institute of the Arts, where Baldessari had also been on the faculty since 1970.

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Notes

  1. 5.
    Ibid, p. 48. The reference to Baldessari s reading of Canetti is made in Coosje van Bruggen, John Baldessari (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art/New York: Rizzoli, 1990), p. 163.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power, trans. Carol Stewart (New York: Seabury Press, 1978), pp. 180–1.Google Scholar
  3. 13.
    John Baldessari, ‘Crowds With Shape of Reason Missing’, in Michel Feher and Sanford Kwinter (eds), Zone, 1/2 (New York: Urzone, 1986), pp. 32–9.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    Cf. Louis Althusser, ‘On the Young Marx’, in For Marx, trans. Ben Brewster (London: Allen Lane, 1969), p. 63.Google Scholar
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  6. 16.
    Jacques Derrida, ‘Signature Event Context’, in Margins of Philosophy, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1982), p. 322.Google Scholar
  7. 17.
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  8. 18.
    Ibid, p. 324.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    On ‘iterable’, see ibid, pp. 315 and 326. What follows from this concept for Derrida is that, ‘above all, one then would be concerned with different types of marks or chains of marks, and not with an opposition between citational statements on the one hand, and singular and original statement-events on the other’ (ibid, p. 326.)Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    Ibid, p. 327.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
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  12. 22.
    Ibid, p. 327; the text says ‘dyssemtrical fashion’.Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    Michel Foucault, ‘The Discourse on Language’, in The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith (New York: Pantheon, 1972), p. 230.Google Scholar
  14. The original text was published as L’Ordre du discours (Paris: Editions Gallimard, 1971).Google Scholar
  15. 34.
    Michel Foucault, ‘Truth and Power’, in Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings1972–1977, ed. Colin Gordon (New York: Pantheon, 1980), p. 113.Google Scholar
  16. 35.
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  17. 36.
    Cf. Jacques Derrida, ‘Passe-Partout’ and ‘Parergon’, in The Truth in Painting, trans. Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod (Chicago, IL and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1987), pp. 1–13 and 15–147.Google Scholar
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    Derrida’s criticisms of Foucault’s Folie et déraison and, specifically, of Foucault’s reading of a passage from Descartes’s First Meditation were first presented in a lecture at the Collège de Philosophie on 4 March 1963 and first published in the Revue de métaphysique et de morale (October–December 1963). Four years later, Derrida reprinted ‘Cogito et histoire de la folie’ in Ecriture et la différence (Paris: Points-Seuil, 1967); see ‘Cogito and the History of Madness’, in Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1978), pp. 31–63. Foucault’s response came only in 1971, in ‘Mon Corps, ce papier, ce feu’, first published in Paideia (September 1971) and reprinted at the end of the 1972 edition of Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique (Paris: Gallimard, 1972): see ‘My Body, This Paper, This Fire’, trans. Geoff Bennington, Oxford Literary Review, 4, 1 (1979), pp. 9–28.Google Scholar
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  21. 47.
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  23. 49.
  24. 50.
  25. 51.
    See Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, ‘L’Espace de l’art’, in Zigzag (Paris: Flammarion, 1981), pp. 19–47, especially pp. 40–1. For a formalist analysis of the function of the gallery wall, see Brian O’Doherty, ‘Inside the White Cube: Notes on Gallery Space. Part I’, Artforum, 14, 7 (March 1976), pp. 24–30; ‘Part II. The Eye and the Spectator’, Artforum, 14, 8 (April 1976), pp. 26–34; ‘Part III. Context as Content’, Artforum, 15, 3 (November 1976), pp. 38–44.Google Scholar
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    See Derrida, ‘Signature Event Context’, pp. 327–9; ‘Passe-Partout’, p. 18; ‘Parergon’, p. 78; and ‘Restitutions of the truth in pointing [pointure]’, in Truth in Painting, pp. 279, 301, 365. See also Jean Baudrillard, ‘Gesture and Signature: Semiurgy in Contemporary Art’, Chapter four of For A Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign, trans. Charles Levin (St Louis, MO: Telos Press, 1981), pp. 102–11.Google Scholar
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    Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Mark Seem, Robert Hurley and Helen Lane (New York: Viking, 1978) andGoogle Scholar
  34. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  35. 63.
    Walter Benjamin, ‘The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction’, in Illuminations, ed. Hannah Arendt, trans. Harry Zohn (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), pp. 217–51.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Bill Readings, ‘The Deconstruction of Politics’, in Lindsay Waters and Wlad Godzich (eds), Reading De Man Reading (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1989), pp. 223–243.Google Scholar
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    See Marcos Sanchez-Tranquilino and John Tagg, ‘The Pachuco’s Flayed Hide: The Museum, Identity and Buenas Garras’, in Richard Griswold del Castillo, Teresa McKenna and Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano (eds), Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation, 1965–1985 (Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Wight Art Gallery, 1991), pp. 97–108.Google Scholar
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    Jean-François Lyotard, The Differend: Phrases in Dispute, trans. George Van Den Abbeele (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1988), section 262, p. 181.Google Scholar
  40. 76.
    Ibid, section 23, p. 13.Google Scholar

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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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  • John Tagg

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